Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pick Up a Brush

I got tired of Saipan’s graffiti problem. I got tired of the citizen of Saipan not doing anything about it. I bought 2 gallons of white paint from the hardware store. They cost about $15.00 each. I had a roller brush and a paint pan in storage. I figured I can start simply with just these things. I ventured out during the Christmas and New Year holidays, either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. I figured I should give a little something that everyone might enjoy: well, surely not the taggers. Or maybe not the property owners who had different colored walls, nor the Public School System and their yellow bus stops. I figured if they really cared, the graffiti on them wouldn’t already be more the six months old.

Graffiti is a disease of a broken society. I read in the Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell about Wilson & Kelling’s Broken Window Theory. It states that crime is an inevitable result of societal disorder. If a broken window if left in disrepair there is a perception that no one cares and no one is in charge. More broken windows will follow and so will the sense of lawlessness and anarchy. Graffiti and public disorder are invitations to more serious crimes since the bad seeds of society see the neighborhood already as victims, unable to defend themselves from lawlessness (who will also, by the way, do nothing to interfere with crime or to help the law).

Saipan is small enough that if graffiti goes up on morning, it should be down before the next. Once a wall is painted over or reclaimed, it must not be lost again. Seems like a simplistic pipe dream to reduce disorder and crime? I know it is just one small piece of the equation, I assure you. But it is the one thing I know that I can do.

There are more to be covered up and taken down. I know you know where they are. Buy a gallon of paint. Dust off your brushes and paint rollers. Time to reclaim what is ours.

Ti napu.

The Beachcomber


Anonymous said...

THANK YOU. I will join you next time if I am on island.

Mai said...

I wish I was there to help my island regain its beauty! Do you think you can get Beautify CNMI on board with you?

The Beachcomber said...

Thank you for your comments. I did check out Beautify CNMI’s anti graffiti subcommittee. They’ve got good people there that include Tyler Yoshimoto who is a high school student and the co-chair I believe.

To do this right, BC has been doing a lot of planning that include documenting sites, developing a volunteer base, paint and equipment donations, getting the buy-in from vandalized property owners and government agencies, getting PSS to paint their bus stops often, and so on and so forth. In a way, I am doing it wrong. For one thing I am not getting anybody’s permission to paint their walls or bus stops.

Sean said...

Awesome idea! Maybe I'll join you on a painting mission when we're there in April.

Anonymous said...

Even thought this article is a few years old, i couldn't stop myself from commenting.

The pictures on the blog defiantly shows acts of Vandalism and an ugly side of graffiti.. but there is definitely more to GRAFFITI then just these pictures.

But on the Upside.. it was awesome to see that Beachcomber buffed out those eye sores with no permission!! just like a graff writer!!!